California calling, assisted suicide, and things I don't know
If you look at the bottom of the sidebar on the right, you'll see a little icon that says "Site Meter." If you click on it, it doesn't do anything, but if I do, it'll go to a site called... well, Sitemeter. Sitemeter lets me keep track of how many people are coming to my site, and where they're coming from. "Where they're coming from" isn't quite as Orwellian as it sounds: all I'll learn is the Internet Service Provider (Ameritech, Verizon, etc.) of any person who enters the site, their basic location (generally, city and state), and how they entered.
That last one is somewhat interesting. Most people who come here do so by entering the URL -- www.briefcase8.com -- directly into Internet Explorer. Some people get here by accident; they'll Google a particular phrase, and my site will be one of the hits, and they'll come here that way. Well, the other day I checked and someone had entered the site by Googling "Christine Agnello Russo," a candidate for Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court who's gotten, shall we say, some unfavorable publicity, as this story and this one might indicate. (My contribution -- in the second paragraph of this post -- was to hypothesize the next story in this sequence.)
The weird thing is, the person who was looking for a story on "Christine Agnello Russo" -- not just Christine Russo, mind you -- was doing so from a computer in California. I checked to see whether l'affaire Russo had hit the national papers, but, again according to Google, it's purely local at this point.
One story that did make the national news is that of Trenton Duckett, a two-year from Leesburg, Fla., who went missing on August 27. Needless to say, this proved an ample supply fodder for the TV talk shows, especially the "legal" ones. A primary one in that category is CNN's show, "Nancy Grace." Grace is a former prosecutor from Atlanta turned avowed victim's advocate; I caught her act once, and concluded that I'd rather undergo waterboarding than subject myself to it a second time. Grace conducted an interview with the toddler's mother on September 7, and gave her the third degree, quizzing her repeatedly about why she hadn't taken a polygraph. (I didn't catch the interview -- see above reference to torture methods, albeit ones which have received the Presidential seal of approval -- but you can get the basics here.)
The next day, the mother killed herself.
Since then, many trees have died to provide the paper to debate whether Grace's hectoring caused the mother's suicide. A like supply of neutrons has been expended in discussing the case on the blogosphere as well. The on-line magazine Slate has an interesting take on the brouhaha, with even more links if you want to find out why the only thing worse than a creepy talk-show host or a creepy lawyer is a creepy talk-show host who's also a lawyer.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a case in my Weekly Roundup dealing with the attractive nuisance doctrine. What I didn't mention is that when I read the case, my initial reaction was, "Hey, hold it! Ohio doesn't have the attractive nuisance doctrine." Turns out Ohio finally adopted it in Bennett v. Stanley in 2001.
Needless to say, color me embarassed: here I'm writing a legal blog, and I don't know about a major change in the law. Turns out I shouldn't have been too embarassed. I asked four lawyers and two judges: none of them had heard about it, either.
Guess we didn't get the memo.